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  • Writer's pictureŞarkılara Mektuplar

Childhood comes out of pine cones

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

Do you have secret places like me? Your ordinary moments that you don't need to share with anyone.

Dear Gulden,

Do you have secret places like mine? Your ordinary moments that you don't need to share with anyone. The secret place is not a secluded place. A seaside, a hill, a street, the most flowery table of a cafe, a tree in the most crowded square... It is a place that calls you, beckons you, where you open yourself up and become silent to the world. I've had places like this for a long time. They are such places that I can tell everyone about them in a way they can find as if they had put them by hand. These days, my secret place is the wooded area at the top of the park closest to home. Last time I went, acacia trees and two black dogs greeted me. The dog always sat next to me, we were caressed without touching each other's presence. Today a cat and a weeping willow and pine cones falling to the ground and mushrooms that seem to have been flourished this morning. If I had written this to my sisters, "It smells like our childhood" Gurbet would say. We lived in a pine forest. In a house that my father built in not more than seven nights. Willow tree in front of it. My sisters, who caught the three kittens of our cat by throwing them into the air like a pin-pop ball, and a girl reading "War and Peace" of course. In this season, there were cones in the forest, dead horse bones (we were neighbors to the equestrian club) and mushrooms collected by Aunt Kezban. We were afraid to eat the mushroom. We only trusted Aunt Kezban. We used to pick mushrooms with her. We used to collect cones with my mother so that we could burn them in the stove. For some reason, we always thought that the cones would give pistachios. Green sweet stuff. They never would. Childhood was spent waiting for pistachios from pine nuts. If you ask me, it was a deeper cleft than the difference between Cinderella and Külkedisi, and as our own muses, we used to dream of making those pine cones Christmas ornaments. While walking today, two pine cones came across me. One of them was able to fool me again with its hardness and still not losing the green. I thought it was going to be pistachio. The other one was opened like the split teeth of our grandfathers and blackened. My grandmother, she would say that it was covered with heat (not the cone, but my grandfather's teeth) and it was just a stove for my grandmother (cone, not my grandfather). He was going to decorate Christmas tree for us. When we were children, we neither ate pistachios until we were full, nor decorated Christmas trees. But it was beautiful, Gulden. We grew up with sacks of cones and a forest on our backs. Childhood is a promise of happiness hidden in two cones. Two childhood dreams. One is always a false hope, but we still believe. The other, I don't know, is still a dream. We later realize what an empty dream it was. Nice anyway. If only it were something to be dreamed of, not something to be dreamed with in our lives.

Maybe there is a reason why I remember these today. Most of the cones that I come across while walking. One always look for a reason. They destroyed that house. Our childhood did not have an autumn to collect sacks of cones in November 97. The day the immunity was lifted, they demolished our house. I tried to remember the exact date. I looked on the internet the day the immunity was lifted and I couldn't find it. Then I looked at my diary. The beauty of writing the dates. Sometimes childhood knows more than google. "November 20, 1997. Immunity was lifted today and our house was destroyed. Our house is a pile of rubble. My father cried, I just froze, I shed a single tear. How will I go to school from now on? How am I going to get past that pile of debris and through that void ever again?" I wrote like this and talked about the wreckage every day after that. We have so many things that have not been mourned. The land on which willow trees bend has always been a memory of the wreckage of that house for me. How weird. Sometimes we talk with my sisters. If we miss the willow tree? They destroyed that tree too. For a while, we lived in an apartment without cats and trees. Then we came to this house where I was born and spent my first childhood.

I didn't know I was going to tell you this. I am sad. It's better, I say to myself, starting today I shall find a way to mourn for my childhood hidden in that pinecone. Sit and write a letter to my old house and willow tree. Tell them you still can't eat pistachios until you're full, and about the books you read under every willow tree.

I kiss you so much. Love,


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